Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hobbit and Lord of the Rings LEGO Minifigures :: The Boys' Storage and Display Case

When it comes to LEGO our boys' favorite themes are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings collections. (The Architecture and Creator sets are at the top of the list too.)

I've already shared how we store most of their LEGO in their bedroom, and you can see some of their sets assembled and displayed on wall shelves above their dresser, but at that point we hadn't found a way to store or display their LEGO Minifigures.

The boys have a couple small storage cases like this one which really don't work very well with only three sections inside… I love these Large Black Minifigure Cases, which can stack on top of each other, but they are just so expensive especially if you need multiple cases. Our solution was to use a Wood Shadow Box purchased with a 50% off coupon from a local craft store for $8!  (I had originally purchased this for storing our Alphabet of Saints Dolls before deciding on the black display instead.) It is working out great and the boys love their new display case! Now I need to see if I can find another one for the rest of their Minifigures...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Books for Girls :: A Closer Look at the Bookshelf

After posting pictures of The Big Girls' Bedroom earlier this month I had a few emails asking if I could share the books that are on their bookshelf.  I thought I would put the list into another post in case anyone else is curious. Most of the books in their room right now were either from my own childhood or given to them as gifts on their birthdays, Christmas or Easter, or sent from their grandparents. (Note: You can find lists of the books we've given them on holidays here and birthday gifts listed in the birthday party posts.) We keep all of our saint books on a bookshelf in the hallway and most of the historical fiction with all the other school books.

We've been collecting the excellent books from Bethlehem Books for years. The Winged Watchman was one of our first audio books and it is still a favorite of my older boys.  For the girls we've collected the Fairchild Series, The Latsch Valley Farm Series and the Sally Series. I have the Bantry Bay Series (The Cottage at Bantry Bay, Francie on the Run, Pegeen) and the Michells Series (The Mitchells: Five For Victory, Canadian Summer, Friendly Gables) stashed away in my closet to give the girls this upcoming Christmas.

Fairchild Series (8-up)

Sally Series (8-up)

Latsch Valley Farm Series (8-up)

The rest of the books on the top shelf are from my childhood collection: Adventures of the Northwoods (Books 1-7 beginning with The Disappearing Stranger), Mandie Books (Books 1-25 beginning with Mandie and the Secret Tunnel), Anne of Green Gables and Emily Collections by L.M. Montgomery, and the Little Women Collection by Louisa May Alcott. (Eight Cousins and Jane of Lantern Hill were moved to a different shelf down below when we added a few more of the Bethlehem Books.)

Our oldest daughter also has this Anne of Green Gables Audio Book.  I'd love to order her a special copy of Anne of Green Gables for her birthday. Does anyone have a favorite edition to recommend? I noticed the new "Puffin in Bloom" edition will be released at the end of the month, I ran across the "Word Cloud Classics" version at Costco, and I was also considering the 8-Book Collection. Any other suggestions?

On the next shelf you'll find our collection of My Book House, Volumes 1-12, a few favorite picture books (Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott, Beauty and the Beast, The Magic Nesting Doll, The Littlest Matryoshka, and Martina the Beautiful Cockroach), Treasury of Fairy Tales the girl's copies of The Secret Garden (illustrated by Inga Moore and Tasha Tudor), Inside The Secret Garden, a vintage copy of All-of-a-Kind Family, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Other Stories (a Christmas gift from their grandma), Strawberry Hill, Kathleen: The Celtic Knot, and The Original Girl's Handy Book.

We love the My Book House Collection and the illustrations are gorgeous. The set includes In the Nursery, Story Time, Up One Pair of Stairs, Through the Gate, Over the Hills, Through Fairy Halls, the Magic Garden, Flying Sales, The Treasure Chest, From the Tower Window, In Shining Armor, and Halls of Fame. You can read more about the My Book House collection here.

Twinkle Toes has started reading from In the Nursery (Book 1) to Rose which includes Nursery Rhymes, Rhymes from Shakespeare, and the beautiful story of Mary and the Christ-Child. 

In the corner of the next shelf down you'll find our collection of St. Mary's Messenger Magazines. If you are looking for a Catholic Magazine for children these are excellent.

They also have a collection of small books and journals, Sisters of the Last Straw, some of The Bobbsey Twin books, The Family Under the Bridge and Bound for Oregon (which are usually with our History books), Mandy, Caddie Woodlawn, Sweet Little Ladies and the Secret at Berry Creek, Stout Hearts and Whizzing Biscuits, Stoop of Mastodon Meadow, Olivia and the Little Way, Ballet Shoes (not pictured since we are currently reading it, the paperback version is a great price right now!), King Oberon's Forest, Clare's Costly Cookies, The Little House Cookbook, and a variety of Historical American Girl Just for Fun and Paper Doll Books. (The rest of the Historical American Girl Books are across the room with some of their American Girl doll clothes and accessories.)

On the fourth shelf you'll find more of my childhood books including all my Nancy Drew books.  There is also a paperback copy of All-of-a-kind Family, Little Town at the Crossroads, The Far Side of the Loch, Little House in the Highlands, Little House by Boston Bay, On the Way Home, and West from Home. There is also my well loved box set of Little House on the Prairie books, I read them over and over as a child.

The girls also love my set of The Chronicles of Narnia, but they are currently on the boys' bookshelf.  I also want to start collecting the Betsy-Tacy books for them, as well as the rest of the All-of-a-Kind Family series. I'm sure there are more books on their beds and around the house but I'm out of time for now. We are heading to town to run a few errands and then it's time for me to get back to finalizing this year's school plans!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Daybook :: Camping at Willow Lake

Outside my window...
We arrived home again yesterday afternoon, after spending four beautiful days and three nights with some friends and family at Willow Lake, a wooded escape set at the base of Mt. McLoughlin.

I am thinking...
The last (and only) time I had ever been to Willow Lake was fifteen years ago this summer, when Sean and I were engaged. We drove out for the day, sat on the banks of the lake, talked for hours, and read a few chapters from Three to Get Married.    *This post contains affiliate links.

I am thankful... 
Sean was able to camp with us!  His boss called him off the engine and back to the office for some meetings this past Wednesday-Friday. He was able to get off work Friday at noon to make the 12:05 Mass for the Solemnity feast of the Assumption and then we headed to the campground!  He is back in the office today and will most likely be heading back out soon on another fire assignment.

Learning all the time
My youngest brother also went camping with us and two of his good friends from college drove out on Saturday with their jet ski and two-rider tube (like this one). I loved jet skiing as a teen, but that was years ago and this was the first time for our three oldest. It was also their (our oldest three) first time being out on a lake (other than a couple boat rides when they were younger) and their first time tubing. Oh my, did we have a BLAST! Even I went for crazy ride on the tube with my brother. I think he was trying to kill me and kept telling his friend to speed up and spin us while I clung to the handles with all my strength. . . I'm still sore!

I didn't have my camera down at the lake when we were jet skiing, but I did take some pictures of the children enjoying the rafts (brought by friends of ours) each afternoon.

Celebrating the liturgical year...
It was such a blessing to have a priest drive out to the campground to offer Mass for us on Sunday evening!

From the kitchen... 
On our way out of town I stopped at a local farm to pick up a couple dozen ears of sweet corn to go along with the Hamburgers and Hotdogs one of the other families provided following Mass on Sunday. We soaked the corn in water for about an hour and then Sean cooked them over our campfire. It was amazing!

I am working on... 
responding to emails...  I had "No Service" on my cell phone up at the lake and came back to "160 New Messages" and a Catholic Digest deadline on Monday night! I did manage to send my November submission off at 11:22pm last night, but it might take me a little while to answer some of the emails.

I am creating...
a list of things we need for the motorhome.  I need to get a collapsable hamper for laundry, baskets to hold various things in the cupboards, some extra utensils and potholders, extra toothbrushes for each of the children, and a number of other random things that would make traveling a little easier.

I am going...
to try not to lose the list this time!

I am hoping...
that we are able to take a few more camping trips this fall, after fire season ends.

Our sweet little "Rose" enjoyed camping so much more this time… though I lost track of how many times I found her in the motorhome cleaning the dirt off her feet with baby wipes! 

I am praying...
for my husband's safety, and for the safety of all our firefighters.

I am reading…
I downloaded Full Steam Ahead to my iPad's Kindle App before we left and actually managed to finish reading it over the weekend while camping! I have always enjoyed reading historical romances, but it had been awhile since I've spent time reading anything "just for fun." Hopefully I can squeeze in one or two more books before the end of summer!

Pondering these words
I also picked out a little book for myself when I was placing an order for school books from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts last month. I've been reading a couple pages or so each day and Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart is such an excellent and inspiring book! 

I am listening... 
to Bud talking all about the "rocks, rocks, rocks… and BIG ROCKS!" He played with the rocks for hours while we were camping, stacking them on his daddy and on his head!

Around the house...
LOTS of laundry and boxes of new school books! I've been having fun looking through the new books in between loads of laundry.

One of my favorite things...  
I love seeing my girls playing sports in their bonnets. Last week I shared a picture of Twinkle Toes playing baseball in her bonnet and while we were camping Chiquita was playing 500 with all the boys wearing her bonnet.

This week's plans
  • Visit from my cousin and her family! 
  • Dentist Appointments
  • Back-to-School BBQ
  • Meet with potential Piano Teacher

A little peek at my day...
We had such a great time and didn't want to come back home… Hopefully it won't be too long before we can go camping again!

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    End-of-School Interviews for 2013-2014

    So I have decided to keep using the children's nicknames online for now. Thank you all for your help with this decision.  I'm so blessed to have such great visitors here at Shower of Roses! It's been such a joy to share our family with you here and I'm looking forward to continuing to do so, though it is sure getting harder to find the time as the children (and I!) get older… I started creating these interviews at the beginning of summer but was stalling on sharing them until I had made the decision about the nicknames and which version to post.  These were originally inspired by Sarah in 2012 and we made them again last year. It's so fun to look back at them each year and see how much the children have grown and changed!

    Ranger's Favorite Books: The Royal Ranger, The Chronicles of Xan (Includes: Shadow in the Dark, The Haunted Cathedral, and The Fire of Eden) and St. Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 

    (So glad he LOVED all the books he was given on Christmas morning! And here are the links to this year's LEGO Perplexus and one of his Metal Earth creations. He was also really proud to serve Mass for our Archbishop during summer camp! I'm still trying to track down a photo…)  

    Twinkle Toes' Favorite Books: Olivia and the Little Way (or order one with a special inscription from the author by clicking the ad in the sidebar!), The Secret Garden (illustrated by Tasha Tudor), St. Therese and the Roses

    Chiquita's Favorite Books: Strawberry Hill, The Secret Garden (illustrated by Inga Moore) and Sisters of the Last Straw

    Snuggles' Favorite Books: Run, Bug, Run, The Runt Pig and Cobweb the Cat
    (He was so excited to read these books on his own! We used these readers with PAL. He is also looking forward to more "MATH, MATH, MATH!!!!" next year.)

    Rose's Favorite Books: Beauty and the Beast (illustrated by Jan Brett) and Saints for Girls

    Rose can't wait for her new Math book to arrive and has been asking to start every day… I'm going to have SIX children in Saxon Math this upcoming school year…. OH, my! 

    Bud's Favorite Books: Is Your Mama a Llama? and See Inside Trains

    Our 2013-2014 Field Trips:

    I'm starting to look forward to beginning our new school year, but not until after we fully enjoy these last few weeks of summer! 

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    Summer Daybook :: August 12, 2014

    Outside my window...
    I ignored my never ending to-do list yesterday, took the children to the library to turn in their summer reading check lists, and then headed out to my parents home for the day!

    My mom made lunch for all of us and the kids had so much fun visiting with their Uncle David and Uncle Kevin, who will both be headed back to college soon.

    I am thinking...
    about blog nicknames, and how necessary it is to keep using them here at Shower of Roses. When I first started blogging over seven years ago, back in 2007, I was pregnant with our fifth child and our oldest was still only six years old! There weren't very many other Catholic bloggers and using nicknames was common. At the time using nicknames made my husband and I more comfortable with sharing our family online even though I've dropped little hints over the years. It doesn't seem nearly as necessary any longer and my husband has given me permission to use their names… but I'm still thinking about it.  :)

    I am thankful... 
    that my husband arrived home safely last Tuesday night! However, even though he is back in town, we haven't gotten to see him very much. He worked at the office on Wednesday and Thursday and then, following some meetings on Friday morning, has been working on an engine since. Last night he didn't get home until after 11pm and was gone again around 6:30am this morning. Despite the extra challenges, we are thankful for the overtime too! It is always such a blessing each fire season.

    August 5, 2014: "Daddy's Home!" 
    Our little "Rose" ran and jumped into his arms when he walked in last Tuesday night, after being at fire camp for the previous 10 days.  The kids were also excited to see what sort of lunch leftovers he had for them this time!

    Learning all the time
    The children are all enjoying their summer break and we won't be starting our new school year until after Labor Day!  Nevertheless, we have been working on some math lessons to get a jump start on the year and hopefully give us some flexibility to go on a family vacation in the fall.  Our summer days have also been filled with great books and art projects.  I love how they truly are "learning all the time."

    My mother-in-law is always sending such fun, thoughtful, and educational gifts to the children!  At the beginning of summer we received a box of Bethlehem Books (we've been collecting them for years and now own most of their books!) including: Beyond the Desert Gate, The Drovers Road Collection, Alvin Fernald, Foreign Trader, Alvin Fernald, Mayor for a Day, Away Goes Sally, Old Sam, Dakota Trotter, Nacar: The White Deer, Stairstep Farm, and Willow Wind Farm.  A couple weeks ago the girls received three sticker books: Victorian Fashion, Victorian Dollhouse, and Costumes Around the World. "Thank you, Grandma!" 

    Celebrating the liturgical year...
    With Sean still working on fires (currently on an engine locally) and fighting this head cold, I COMPLETELY forgot that the boys were suppose to serve Mass on Sunday morning. (It probably would have been a good idea to write it down in my planner.) I woke up thinking we'd go to an afternoon Mass but remembered at 10:20 that it was the annual St. Anthony Festa! Oh, NO!!! I sent a friend a text msg to see if it was at 10:30 or 11:00, grabbed some Mass clothes for myself and the little ones plus the boys' cassocks and surplices, and loaded the car with all seven kids. We left the house at 10:35 to drive to the fairgrounds (we usually allow 30 minutes) and the boys miraculously arrived at 10:55, five minutes before Mass, to find to rosary just ending and Father waiting... Whew, that was way too close! (And thank you Guardian Angles!) On another note, I realized during Mass that the last time we saw Father Carmelo was when he met us at the cemetery in June to bury our little Anthony, who I miscarried on the feast of St. Anthony this year. What a morning... I think it might take me all week to recover!

    From the kitchen... 
    On Saturday morning my mom picked me up and we headed to the local Growers Market. I came home with lots of freshly picked produce to help us get over the colds we have been fighting since last week. I think I'm actually getting over this one without it turning into secondary infections, for the first time in over a year!

    I am working on... 
    stopping what I'm doing to play with the children. After watching The Perfect Game recently they have all started playing baseball together each afternoon and I've been joining the fun!

    (I actually ordered the Blu-Ray version of The Perfect Game, but it's also currently available for Free Streaming with Prime!) 

    I am creating...
    a list of the books that are on the girls' bookshelf for those who have asked. I'll try and post it soon!

    I am going...
    to the dentist this afternoon for a filling… no fun.

    I am hoping...
    to come up with some plans for our oldest daughter's birthday at the end of the month! Where has the summer gone?! I really need to find the reset button… With our miscarriage at the beginning of summer, and everything that has followed, it has gone by so quickly and I'm just not ready for school to start again in a couple weeks.

    I am praying...
    for my husband's safety, and for the safety of all our firefighters. We are also praying for a special intention for our family, and that God will make His will clear to us. (And for so many other intentions including all the Christians in Iraq…)

    I am reading…
    lots of picture books to the little ones.  Yesterday was the last day to turn in the summer reading lists and book reports at our local library, and I woke up to find the boys sitting outside working on their reports on The Hobbit (Audiobook with Tolkien Dictionary) and Shadow in the Dark.

    Pondering these words...
    from St. Jane Frances de Chantal:

    "If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven."

    I am listening... 
    to this little guy pretending to be Johnny Cash with his sister's "Sound of Music" guitar.

    Around the house...
    LEGO! I couldn't resist grabbing my camera the other day after walking by the boys' bedroom and seeing an ent hanging from the side of one of the houses in their LEGO town! I really need to share pictures of some of the boys' creations.

    One of my favorite things...  
    the wi-fi function on my camera! I finally figured out how to enable the wifi and transfer a photo from my camera directly to my iPhone using the EOS Remote app. I ❤ this feature!

    This week's plans
    We have a camping trip with friends coming up and I am praying that I can still pull it off without Sean's help. Please say a little prayer for me!

    A little peek at my day...
    My youngest brothers pulled out there Slow Stick Airplanes yesterday to show their nieces and nephews, then played a game of Frisbee Golf before the smoky skies started getting worse and it was time for us to go home. It was such a fun day!

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